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Pirate’s Passage (Andrew Lockington)

May 7, 2015

Cover_PiratesPassagePIRATE’S PASSAGE

Andrew Lockington, 2015, MovieScore Media
20 tracks, 61:20

Lockington scoring a pirates story? Yes please! Now, this is not “CutThroat Island” or “Pirates of the Caribbean”. This is something a little different, but oh so enjoyable!

Review by Pete Simons

WINNER 2015 Synchrotones’ Soundtrack Awards

What is it?

Produced, co-written and voiced by Donald Sutherland, and based on the novel by William Gilkerson, “Pirate’s Passage” follows mysterious seadog Captain Johnson (Sutherland) who takes up residence at the inn of Kerstin Hawkins (Carrie-Anne Moss) and her son, Jim (Gage Munroe). When he offers his candid knowledge on local pirates for a school project, Jim realizes that the Captain didn’t gather his knowledge from books – he was there to witness the events.

What does it sound like?

Canadian composer Andrew Lockington (“City of Ember”, “Journey to the Centre of the Earth”, “San Andreas”) provides a whimsical and full-bodied orchestral score. There are several melodies, mostly of an honourable nature, reminiscent of “City of Ember”. All throughout it has an Irish/Celtic lilt to it, through both its lyrical, often long-lined melodies and it’s orchestrations (flute, violin, bodhran and vocals play prominent roles).

After an intense and action-packed opening (“Seven Chests”), the score moves into calmer waters with the upbeat “Morning, 1952”. Strumming guitar accompanies a folksy melody for violin (and later strings and piano). “Skull and Cross Swords” covers a lot of ground in six minutes, opening with a “Bourne”-esque string ostinato before moving on to soft vocals, mysterious harp play, a strident passage in 7/8, before arriving at one of my favorite themes (here performed by violin and wordless vocals). Although performed in an understated manner, it is a noble theme that will return several time throughout the score.

“Aim to Sink Her” presents a lively Celtic melody for flute and strings, before dark strings take over. From the darkness a harp arpeggio emerges which signals a reprise of the noble theme, this time orchestrated for horns, bodhran percussion and racing strings. This is my kind of theme and I could listen to this all day long (and believe me… I have). Lockington follows the theme with a big statement (for horns and vocals) of what’s actually the introduction to the noble theme. So… that could mean that the noble theme is actually a b-phrase. I’m honestly not sure, but what I am sure of is just what fantastic music it is!

Solo violin and bodhran open “Is That Your Girlfriend”, before things turn a little dark again. “A Ship in the Storm” contains some fantastic action music (fast paced strings), whilst “Captain Johnson” presents another new melody (after some more frantic string writing). And why stop there? “Vikings” introduces yet another theme, though it’s better observed in “Show Me To Your Room” where it’s performed on violin and harp.

Violin and bodhran add a jig-like quality to “Boat Comes Loose”. Several decent cues later we arrive at “Our Secret” which sees harp reprising the noble theme. Which leads us to “Surprizal, Mr Moehner” which features the “Bourne”-esque strings ostinato, some strident action music and another majestic performance of the main theme accompanied by urgent string writing.

The album closes with a lyrical melody for female vocalist accompanied by strumming guitars and strings (ever so briefly reminding me of Harry Gregson-Williams’ work on “Shrek”), which is immediately and more prominently reprised in “Meg’s Song” (vocals and piano). Gorgeous stuff!

Is it any good?

Andrew Lockington’s “Pirate’s Passage” is such a wonderful score, full of lovely melodies, Celtic orchestrations and rousing action music. Whenever pirates are mentioned people will think of either John Debney’s “CutThroat Island” or Hans Zimmer’s “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Lockington’s work sounds like neither of them. It’s not as gloriously over the top (and classically inspired) as Debney’s, nor is it as modern as Zimmer’s. Rather, this is a noble and rousing Celtic-themed adventure score. The action music is a bit ‘tried and tested’, but luckily the score revolves much more around its numerous melodies. In terms of performance, I suspect there’s some sampling going on, but I genuinely struggle to work out to what extent, it is so well mixed. “Pirate’s Passage” is a joy, and at just over an hour it offers plenty to explore without outstaying its welcome.

Rating [4/5]

Tracklisting

01. Seven Chests (3:52)
02. Morning, 1952 (2:16)
03. Skull and Cross Swords (6:21)
04. Aim to Sink Her (4:52)
05. Is That Your Girlfriend? (1:51)
06. A Ship in the Storm (2:17)
07. Captain Johnson (2:23)
08. Vikings (4:16)
09. Magic Fire (2:20)
10. Show Me To Your Room (1:38)
11. Boat Comes Loose (2:37)
12. Fast Friends (3:49)
13. Hiding the Chest (3:28)
14. We Need to Prepare! (1:52)
15. Our Secret (1:39)
16. Surprizal, Mr. Moehner! (6:27)
17. Are You Going to Die? (2:49)
18. Searching the Basement (1:55)
19. Closing Theme (3:21)
20. Meg’s Song (1:28)

Availability

Visit the MovieScore Media website for more information and audio clips.

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